June 29, 2022

Volume XII, Number 180

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June 28, 2022

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Administration of Coronavirus Vaccines May Raise Constitutional Issues

With the development of COVID-19 vaccines, the world may finally be looking at a solution to the pandemic that has plagued all of us for the past year.  As several experts have noted, however, “Vaccines don’t prevent diseases; vaccinations do.”  And that creates a potential problem, because, as experts in other fields have noted, many people are reluctant to get vaccinated.

So, can the government make you take a vaccine?  For over a century, courts have generally said yes, mindful of the need to protect the public health even in the face of religious objections.  See, e.g., Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905).  How about your employer?  Your child’s school?  Your parent’s nursing home?  Others?

Recently, however, religious groups and others have begun to argue that restrictions on public gatherings violate the rights of citizens to worship and assemble.  And some courts, including the United States Supreme Court in a recent opinion, have agreed with these arguments.  See, e.g., Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, 2020 WL 6948354 (U.S. Nov. 25, 2020).  Could these same arguments be used to justify a refusal to get vaccinated?  We’ll be monitoring this issue in the weeks and months to come.

© 2022 Gilbert LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 356
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About this Author

Mark Packman Insurance Litigation Attorney Gilbert LLP
Partner

In more than thirty years of law practice, Mark Packman has successfully represented a wide variety of businesses, state and local governments, trusts, and individuals. A highly experienced litigator, Mark has tried cases and argued appeals in state and federal courts across the country. He has also handled arbitrations.

Mark’s practice focuses on the litigation of complex disputes, typically involving hundreds of millions of dollars. He is currently leading the litigation team that represents a Fortune 500 manufacturer of automobile parts in a...

202-772-2320
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